Comparing properties with different rental companies? It’s important to ask the right questions because two homes with similar base rates may actually vary greatly in price when the grand total is calculated.
We recommend the following questions to make sure you are as educated as possible when booking a vacation home:
- What is the base rate? The base rate is the weekly rate to rent the home before adding taxes and fees. With Destination Vacation properties, the base rate includes all Bed Linens and Bath Towels, Cleaning Fees, Starter Soaps and Home Amenities and Spa Heat (if the property has a Spa), but does not include taxes, reservation fee or car pass fees (if applicable).
- What are the taxes? South Carolina taxes for accommodations are 10% until April 30, 2019 and 11% beginning May 1, 2019. Taxes are charged on top of the base rate and most fees since they are considered goods and services.
- What are the fees associated with this rental? Fees are variable from company to company and should be clearly understood before comparing one property’s base rates with another. Reservation Fees are common but the amount charged and services included with these fees are inconsistent from company to company. Destination Vacation charges a 7% Reservation Fee, which includes credit card processing fees, accidental damage protection for all guests in the rental home for repairs up to $2,500 and covers costs associated with preparing and mailing the Check-In Packet to guests in advance of their trip. Most of our competitors charge higher reservation fees than 7% and may not include the services that Destination Vacation provides. This is why it is important to ask questions about the reservation fee associated with a rental home under consideration.
- What other mandatory fees exist? Is there an Activity Fee, Booking Fee or Processing Fee in addition to the Reservation Fee? Destination Vacation does not charge additional booking fees to the reservation fee.
- Is there a fee for using a credit card? No. Destination Vacation accepts credit cards, checks or E-checks for all transactions related to a reservation without charging an additional processing fee to the reservation fee.
- Are accidental damages covered or an additional fee? Destination Vacation provides accidental damage protection without an additional fee.
- If the home has a spa, is spa heat included or an additional fee? Destination Vacation does not charge extra for spa heat.
- If the home has a pool, what is the cost to heat the pool? Destination Vacation offers guests the option to heat pools for an additional charge. Most homes have propane gas tanks for pool heaters and the propane is transported by truck from areas near Greenville, SC. Therefore, propane gas is more expensive on Hilton Head than other parts of the country where natural gas is fed directly to the property by undergound pipes.
- Are there car pass fees? Sea Pines and Palmetto Dunes charge fees for car passes. For guests staying in Sea Pines, weekly car passes cost $15/car until March 23, 2019 when they increase to $17/car. For guests in Palmetto Dunes, weekly car passes cost $15/car through Summer 2019, then they go up to $25/car starting August 31, 2019. Destination Vacation facilitates the transaction based on the number of car passes ordered without added taxes or upcharges.
- What level of customer service can I expect with this rental? Customer service is hard to quantify in dollar terms, but questions can still be asked to evaluate a company’s level of service. Is the company local with local staff who can serve as valuable resources to the guest? Does the company have an after-hours service for guests who have emergencies or need immediate assistance? Does the company work with reputable vendors for garbage, pool service and housekeeping, and can these vendors respond immediately in the event a problem arises? Is the reservationist taking your reservation intimately familiar with the property he/she is promoting?
Destination Vacation is one of the few remaining truly local rental companies on Hilton Head Island. We are a privately-owned boutique company and we have assembled a team of the finest professionals who live, work and play on Hilton Head, so we know the area extremely well. Our relationships with local vendors are as deep as 30 years in the making. We inspect our properties ourselves, so we know the ins-and-outs of every rental home in our inventory, and we have a dedicated team member who answers the After Hours phone 24 hours/day, so any guest emergencies that arise are answered promptly by a Destination Vacation employee and not an answering service. Customer service is the cornerstone of our business and we pride ourselves on offering the knowledge and experience needed to provide exceptional service that goes far beyond the reservation process. We look forward to seeing you on your next vacation!